Review Summary: So once again I swim In Reverie without your love.2
003 is the first year in my existence that I took a molding into music. I was 15 years old making a transition from just trying to survive freshman year of high school to what would later shape my future in terms of musical tastes. I was like a sponge that tried to soak in everything that was thrown in and recommended to me at the time. Saves The Day was a band that I was late to the party with but soon became a heavy hitter in rotation as I was constantly recommended by various girlfriends and then reminded when those girlfriend’s became ex’s. While I can hold vivid memories of looping “Stay What You Are”
and “Through Being Cool”
through cloudier days in my youth I could never get into “In Reverie” when it was fresh out of the gate. “In Reverie”
is the 4th LP from Saves The Day and the long awaited follow up from what many people acclaim as a milestone in pop-punk history with “Stay What You Are”
. It took me nearly a decade later to fully appreciate what “In Reverie”
is and what it was not.
Driving In The Dark
In Reverie is a term used when an individual is so lost in solitary thought that they become unaware of their own surroundings. “In Reverie”
is the release that I feel holds the most individuality for better and worse amongst pre and post releases Chris Conley and company. On a whole this album represents a large step in a different direction (forward and back depending on the listener) from the previous releases that hardly strayed from the written path. That written path being fueled with power chords and shouted vocals that kept a steady tempo from the earliest releases that ventured gradually outwards with “Stay What You Are”
. One of the main issues a lot of kids in this scene was the dreadful word of maturity that was often used as a detrimental point. A clear modification has been made in song writing, lyrics, and vocals and it’s evident instantaneously.
The album opens up with the single “Anywhere With You” which has a stadium rock vibe with its distortion that smooth’s into a familiar upstroke groove. Chris Conley’s voice feels more refined and produced right from the get go which might come off as collateral damage to the transition of a major label but it sits well with me. The more refined and less grit in his earlier days is a nice shift but doesn’t lose his signature high-pitched nasally tone. Song’s such as “Anywhere With You” though feel watered down for radio usage (which it was) and lack a distinct direction or motive. Fortunately, the trend starts and stops there and the album starts taking a true molding with “What Went Wrong”. “What Went Wrong” has an upbeat feeling throughout, that spirals out with the chorus which is memorable and enjoyable. Washing out the bad taste of the stadium rock introduction wouldn’t of been a hard feat but “What Went Wrong” grooves with a moving bass line and the drive of the beat of the drums through the chorus. It really sets the tone that something different and contrasting is on its way. If you know anything about Saves The Day you’ll be familiarized or acquainted with the creative usage of different guitar chord progressions. Many songs feel fresh with underlying melodies and “Driving In The Dark” emphasizes this. It’s a standout song on the album with a great hook and strong lyrics. The maturity in the lyrics is a great step forward from what had its flair in being immature in the past. Chris Conley shows at this point in his career the most range and fluidity of hooks while coming off as slick as opposed to spelling out an obvious image in words.
My favorite track off of this album has to be the title track “In Reverie”. This track holds true the focal point of the strongest things that come out of this album. The vocals through this track really show the growth within Chris Conley and the falsetto in the hook is gratifying. The up stroke guitar in the chorus, the bass bouncing a long, and the snap of the snare- really create a nice landscape musically. Production on this album was not lacking in the least bit which is one of the plus signs of a move to a major label. Everything feels polished and each instrument has its moments to luster with a balanced feeling. Mid-way through the album it’s obvious the definitive shift in direction from the band which gives off a doo-wop vibe in many of the verses and a much more up-beat feeling. While not everything is abandoned from the previous releases- it would be a long shot to compare this album to the previous ones and even future releases of this band. Honing in on strong points in the previous releases most things are a welcome addition to the soundscape though many listeners will long for the grittiness and melancholy of previous albums. Dead on- at points something’s just seem strange but it’s clear the experimenting was in full effect. That’s not to say emotion is lacking within this album and songs like “She” will rebuttal this. The whole perception of the way songs are structured and lyrically give it a very drifty dream like feeling that references back to the title. The shift is what will turn off many, as people probably expected a similar approach that was presented in “Stay What You Are”
. Saves The Day have not always transcended creativity or even experimenting as band. Risks before this were conservative and minimal and it resonated with a pop-punk crowd concerned with teenage angst. This may be Chris Conley’s gutsy’est vocal performance where a lot gambles were made and even felt forced at times in his approach. “Wednesday The Third” slows the album down but ventures creatively into new depths with a winding, leading guitar that chops up the chorus and lets the rhythm section take over. The spiraling lyrics in the verses fit the mood of the song well. I would love to know what influenced and was listened too during the era of the creation of this album as a lot of eclectic sounds were presented through and through. The outro track “Tomorrow Too Late” doesn’t need to remind the listener that chances were taken and mostly paid out through the album. The flange effect of the vocals that solo into softly strummed guitars gives an eerie feeling and still uplifts to the dreariness of this album. I enjoy when the full band comes into play and how the song flows smoothly and seamlessly with skittish guitar leads and tasteful chord progressions. The album goes out to Chris Conley’s vocals and a softly strummed guitar again which could only feel fitting for closure.
Anywhere With You
I was one who gave this album a lot of slack when it first came out and it took nearly a decade and a few phase changes to fully appreciate what its worth and it is now respected in my releases with this band. I look back and realize that the changes to sound and approach were a near complete about face. Blame it on whatever but “In Reverie”
is one of the most unique albums released by this band. If you give it a chance- the sound bleeds musical richness and creativity that might be overlooked by previous fan’s that waited years for a part II for “Stay What You Are”
. You will also get a sense of what the harsh criticism resulted with the dismissal to albums such as “Sound The Alarm”
and “Under The Running Boards”
. If somehow you grew up in the wrong era of music or had Saves The Day slip under the radar for this long I’d recommend another album in their discography to be broken into and explore from there. You may come away disappointed with the other releases if this is your first listen with the band. For what it’s worth though I think this release should have a safe place in most fan’s hearts as it’s a hidden gem that takes some digging to get used too but once you realize what’s been uncovered, the shine is unmistakable.